May 21, 2011
ZIONSVILLE, Ind. (seminoles.com) –
The Florida State men’s golf team fell short in its effort to earn a second consecutive bid the NCAA Division I Championship finals as it finished in a tie for eighth place at the NCAA Indiana Regional Championship at Wolf Run Golf Course as play in the event came to a close on Saturday. The Seminoles finished 17 strokes behind Iowa and Tennessee (who both finished in a tie for fourth place) in the race for one of the top five spots in the in the regional championship.
Regional champion Michigan will be joined by Alabama, Michigan, Iowa and Tennessee at the NCAA Division I Championship finals at Karsten Creek in Stillwater, Okla. Luke Guthrie of Illinois and Lion Kim of Michigan finished tied for the individual championship with identical scores of eight under par 205. Lee Bedford of Wake Forest will represent the region as the top individual finisher who was not on one of the top five team who advanced to play in the championship finals. The team and individual championship in the sport of men’s golf will be decided May 31-June 5. Augusta State, which qualified from the NCAA Florida Regional Championship, will return to the championship finals as they look to defend the title Jaguars won in 2010.
“This was a disappointing end to our season,” said head coach Trey Jones. “Too many times this year we failed to play at a high level of golf for an entire tournament or in a final round. Today was no different. We finally got the start we need, put ourselves in a position to play nine good holes in order to qualify and simply did not get it done. Once again, our ability to eliminate big numbers hurt us.”
Florida State began the day looking as if it would become one of the first teams in recent memory to make up as much as a 10 stroke deficit on the final day of a regional championship and advance to the final site. The Seminoles, who began the day in seventh place and 10 strokes behind the cutline of fifth place, were quickly three under par as a team on its first two holes and knocking on the door of both Stanford and Tennessee. The Seminoles continued to stay hot and were four under after four holes and only four strokes out of the fifth spot before their golf clubs grew cold.
Collectively, the Seminoles were five strokes over par on the final two holes of the back side of the course (the Seminoles began the round on the 10th hole for the second consecutive day). The Seminoles gained back little luck after the turn as they combined to play the first two holes of the front side at eight over par.
Florida State was led on the final day by freshman Bjorn Hellgren (Vasteras, Sweden) who finished with an even par score of 71. His 71 allowed him to finish with a 219 total for the three round event – the third best tournament score of his freshman season. Hellgren’s score of 71 marked his sixth single round score of par or better in 24 rounds in his first season as a Seminole and was his best single round total in this event – the first regional championship of what has the makings of being an outstanding career.
Hellgren carded an event high five birdies in the third round after carding a total of seven in the first two rounds. He carded birdies on his first two holes of the round to immediately move below par – where he stayed for the majority of the round. Hellgren was under par for 13 of the 18 holes in played in the final round.
Junior Brooks Koepka (Wellington, Fla.) closed out a fine junior season with a two over par score of 73 and a 19th place finish in the individual standings. Koepka played solid golf in his final round of the season with 15 holes at par or better with two birdies. He was done in by one bad hole – a double bogey six on the par four hole No. 12. Besides that hole, he played even par golf during the round.
Koepka’s finish marked his second career top 20 regional championship finish – he finished in a tie for sixth place at the NCAA Southeast Regional Championship in the spring of 2009.
Junior Wesley Graham (Port Orange, Fla.) and freshman Joaquin Lolas (Lima, Peru) played well in the final round as they finished with scores of five over par 76. The Seminole pair finished in a tie for 47th place in the individual standings.
“I am proud of the team for sticking together through the year and improving as the spring progressed,” said Jones. “I am encouraged with the foundation we have laid with our younger players and look forward to seeing them continue to develop into team leaders next season.”
The end of the event brought to a close the stellar career of Seminole captain Drew Kittleson. The heart and soul of the Seminoles for the last four seasons, he helped lead Florida State to four NCAA Tournament appearances and the first Atlantic Coast Conference championship in the sport of golf in school history in 2008.
“Drew ended his Florida State career today and I am thankful for the opportunity to coach such a talented player and wonderful person. Watching him play his last hole today was a tough thing for me to do,” said Jones.
2011 NCAA Indiana Regional/Par 71/ Final Florida State Results Wolf Run Golf Club/Zionsville, Ind./May 19-21, 2011 T8/14. Florida State 291 295 296 882 19. Brooks Koepka 69 74 73 216 T28. Bjorn Hellgren 73 75 71 219 T47. Wesley Graham 80 70 76 226 T47. Joaquin Lolas 74 76 76 226 T67. Drew Kittleson 75 83 78 237
2011 NCAA Indiana Regional/Par 71/ Final Team Results Wolf Run Golf Club/Zionsville, Ind./May 19-21, 2011 1. Michigan 841 T8. Indiana 882 2. Illinois 843 T8. Wake Forest 882 3. Alabama 847 T8. Florida State 882 T4. Tennessee 865 11. Memphis 893 T4. Iowa 865 12. Wichita State 906 6. Stanford 869 13. Missouri Kansas City 907 7. Charlotte 875 14. Sacred Heart 950